Alzheimer’s disease vs. common Aging: Knowing the difference

Alzheimer’s disease is becoming more and more common among seniors. In fact, in 2011, over 747,000 Canadians were living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Although almost 40 per cent of people over the age of 65 experience some form of memory loss, Alzheimer’s and other dementias are not a normal part of aging. It is important to know the difference between normal aging and possible signs of a dementia.

Normal Aging:

• Not being able to remember a conversation or an event that happened a long time ago;

• Forgetting the name of an acquaintance;

• Occasionally forgetting things and events;

• Sometimes having difficulty finding words;

• Being worried about your memory, but your family and friends are not.

Possible Signs of Dementia:

• Not being able to recall details of recent events or conversations;

• Forgetting names of family members or close friends;

• Often forgetting things and events;

• Frequent pauses to try and find words;

• Family and friends are concerned about your memory, but you are not.

If you notice that you or a loved one has any of the above dementia warning signs, talk to your doctor about being tested to determine if there is an increased risk level for developing Alzheimer’s disease — the most common type of dementia. A simple blood test, called Alz-ID, can determine if you are at low, average, or high risk. Your local LifeLabs Laboratory can administer the test to know where you stand.

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